It was 2010 that created the Louis CK we know today. After decades toiling away as a club comedian and television writer (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Dana Carvey Show, The Chris Rock Show), the DC-born comedian became a household name with Hilarious, his sixth special.
Originally released on Epix, the 80-minute program led to FX giving CK his own TV show, Louie, and inspiring him to write a whole new hour each subsequent year up to 2014. Filmed at the 1,300-seat Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, CK picks up where he left off on his last special, 2008's Chewed Up, offering a frank and unflattering look into his own pathetic life.
Kicking his set off with a run of jokes about how the majority of people in the history of the world are dead, specifically Hitler and Ray Charles, Louis briefly revisits the brand of absurd humour that he originally cut his teeth on. Freshly divorced, CK offers his take on being a middle-age man attempting to date again, bringing out a stack of brand new jokes, as he compares his out-of-shape frame to a '73 Dodge Dart sitting in a backyard that one suddenly has to rely on it to get to work, followed up by his now commonplace material surrounding his eating and masturbation schedule (or lack of it).
But it's his left-field observations, like his impression of the guy who demonstrates the hand job pantomime, only to continue it to completion, or his run on "white people problems" (being one of the first comedians to bring that term into the comedic lexicon), and the annoyingly hyperbolic use of the word hilarious (hence his special's title) shows just how far ahead his humour was from his schlocky contemporaries. On Hilarious, Louis CK finds himself commercially, showing the audience that the funniest version of Louis isn't necessarily the prettiest version of Louis.
Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.